velcade - cycle four

As of this morning I am half way through my fourth cycle on bortezomib (Velcade) and dexamethasone. On four Thursday mornings out of every five I arrive at St. Paul's Hospital at 8 am in order to receive two injections of Velcade. Today it took ninety minutes from the time I arrived until the protocol was completed, the drugs sent from the pharmacy and the injections injected. I take advantage of the time to rest, read and chat with the nursing staff and other patients. This is a photo of today's meds. Not much to look at but, thankfully, very effective in managing my myeloma and the resulting amyloidosis. These injections are allowing me to live a healthy, symptom free life. While I do not know the current price of Velcade a little online research suggests that these two vials cost in the range of $1500. Multiple myeloma and amyloidosis are expensive diseases to treat. Needless to say, I continue to be very grateful for the Canadian health care system which provides this to me without charge.

The good news is that there is nothing new to report. The results of my third cycle on Velcade have just arrived and they show the protein free light chain count to be at 116. That is up slightly from the count of 95 at the end of the second cycle. However, with my doctor's okay I had one less treatment in the third cycle so that I would not have to interrupt our vacation in order to come back to St. Paul's for an injection. As a result, I am not surprised that there is a slight increase in the count. This is an indication that I do need the combination of Velcade and dexamethasone in order to keep the number from climbing. It is an indication that the treatment continues to work.

Now that things are stable and I am feeling well I have found the motivation to follow up on a suggestion that a friend offered when I was first diagnosed last year. Catherine suggested that I look into Inspire Health here in Vancouver. Inspire Health is an integrative cancer care centre that provides care in conjunction with that already being offered through my doctor and the BC Cancer Agency. The centre receives funding from the medical plan. My doctor agrees that becoming a member of Inspire Health is a good idea. So I have signed up for the two day LIFE program which is the entry into the centre's programs and will be taking it in mid-September when I finish my current cycle on Velcade. The plan is to be as healthy as I can be. I am looking forward to learning more about ways to assist my body, mind and spirit in coping with these diseases.

One interesting note. There is one particular substance which I have been warned by the doctors and nurses not to ingest while receiving Velcade. It is green tea. Yes, green tea. For some unknown reason green tea has been found to block the intended effects of Velcade. Since Velcade is such a new drug and since it has shown to be negatively affected by green tea I am also not to take any herbal supplements. This is interesting to me since I expect that alternative cancer care often includes receiving herbal supplements and drinking healthy things like green tea! The good news is that I can still have my morning coffee and can still enjoy a beer while watching football or hockey.


  1. Wow! not only informative but educational. Good news about the coffee since a friend yesterday pointed out 5 benefits from that. And beer, well, that is nutritious, it is made with grain after all.

    Great idea having a blog.

  2. That great sign.

    Within 2-3 days, I am also going to be treated the same as mentioned above.
    1. Valcade Injection 2.5 mg – Qty: 4 [to be on weekly from the day one].
    2. Dexamethazone Injection 20 mg – Qty: 4 [on daily from the day one].
    3. Cyclophosphomide Tab 300 mg – Qty: 4 [on weekly from the day one].

    Naseem Sheikh